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Anti-internment bonfire forced homeless charity to move

The remains of Saturday's anti-internment bonfire still smoulder outside the Welcome Organisation in the Divis area yesterday Picture Hugh Russell
The remains of Saturday's anti-internment bonfire still smoulder outside the Welcome Organisation in the Divis area yesterday Picture Hugh Russell The remains of Saturday's anti-internment bonfire still smoulder outside the Welcome Organisation in the Divis area yesterday Picture Hugh Russell

A homeless charity was forced to close a centre for several hours on Saturday evening due to an anti-internment bonfire.

Shutters on the Belfast Welcome Organisation's building in the Divis area of Belfast were pulled down at around 6pm in a pre-planned move due to concerns about heat from the pyre.

Services were delivered as normal from premises in Donegall Street in the city centre, with outreach teams also on the streets.

Yesterday afternoon the remains of the bonfire were still smouldering outside the organisation's Townsend Street building.

Spokeswoman Sandra Moore said that arrangements had been put in place to ensure safety and the continuation of normal service.

"There was good and open co-operation between people who were building the bonfire and the organisation," she said.

"We were concerned about fire heat. Last year we did the same. We were able to deliver services until 6pm in Townsend Street and then we went down to Donegall Street."

Ms Moore added: "There are some scorch marks on the building. It appears as if some burning objects were thrown at the building. However the clean-up operation was very quick on the Sunday."

Footage on social media from the Divis area showed a stolen car being driven erratically and later set alight as a large crowd watched on.

A youth was also seen throwing objects at a police Land Rover and verbally abusing police at the Westlink following the Divis bonfire